WHY IS IT OKAY TO HATE ISRAEL?

By Joel Bainerman


Zichron Yaacov, Israel--The Internet has done wonders for one group of people. The anti-Israel crowd. They believe it is legitimate to hate Israel and to charge Israel with committing "acts of genocide and massacre against the Palestinians."

This group is comprised of a mixture of Arabs and Americans from the far right and from the far Left, and are all united in their belief that "Israel has stolen the Palestinians lands and deprived them of their right to nationhood." They claim the Israeli government has had a "secret policy to destroy the Palestinian people going back 50 years." They charge that the state of Israel is illegitimate and should be expelled from the family of nations.

Throughout the Internet there are various discussion groups and press services catering to anti-Israel views. Arab and Palestinians intellectual along with Lefties rule these sites and bulletin boards. The norm is condemnation of Israel. The moment they don't hear that you as a contributor to the discussion aren't prepared to immediately condemn Israel for "mass brutality" and "genocide perpetrated against the Palestinians" you are immediately branded as an apologist for Israel. In other words, in their minds, Israel isassumed guilty. This is anti-Israelism.

Anti-Israelism is widespread on college campuses. The extreme Left-wingers join forces with the Arab student societies and the other Third World groups to systematically condemn Israel in university sponsored and funded forums and lectures. Year-in and year-out on US college campuses, Israel is accused of "crimes against the Palestinian people."

The yearly ritual is repeated without any complaint by even the Jewish community or the Israeli government. What if it was France that was being charged with the crime of "genocide?" The French government would immediately demand these attacks end. Unlike other Western countries, it is permissible to publicly hate Israel. Arabs and Americans who espouse anti-Israelism claim that they are not against Jews, only Israel. They don't hate Jews, they point out, they just hate Israel. These are there own words. They admit that are "anti" Israel.

Why is it okay to hate Israel? In a civilized society can it be permitted to publicly hate another country and charge its people with "genocide" and "massacres"? If such hatred was directed against the UK, Germany, Finland, Belgium or Italy these country's ambassador's would be in Washington demanding and end to the campaign of hate against the good name and reputation of their country.

Unfortunately, however, anti-Israelism has become accepted as a legitimate political expression. Forget anti-Semitism. Being anti-Israel is accepted as a legitimate political expression. In most civil societies anti-Jewish sentiments are frowned upon. Yet in those same countries it is perfectly acceptable for Arabs to express hatred of Israel.

Why is such hatred of Israel allowed to continue unconfronted?

Anti-Israel people who claim they are anti-Israel but not anti-Semitic believe they have a right to reserve their hatred just for Israel. Yet if you identify yourself as being anti-Egyptian it means you don't like the Egyptian people or the Egyptian state or both. Israel is the Jewish state and the majority of its inhabitants are Jews. Being anti-Israel means being anti-Jewish in the same way being anti the political state of India means being anti Indian people. If I am anti-France I am anti the French people. Would it be morally acceptable to say: "I don't hate the Italians, I just hate Italy?"

A public expression of hatred against another country must be confronted in the courts with libel and slander suits. The next time an article appears on an Internet site propagating anti-Israel hatred it should be the basis for legal action. No one has a right to use the public airwaves to incite hatred against another country or its people.

These expressions of anti-Israelism must be confronted. The normalization and legitimization of hatred of Israel must be arrested. It isn't permissible to hate Israel anymore than it is permissible to hate Greece, Nambia, Denmark, Japan or Brazil. Anti-Israel forums and organizations should not be allowed to so freely preach hatred against Israel. It should be a crime to preach hatred against another country or its people.

People can think anything they want. They should be able to discuss these views in a private setting. What they should not be allowed to do is to publicly express hatred towards another people or country and use a university or other public institution as arenas to spread hatred against Israel. If specific accusations are made then proof must be presented. Anytime a group or organization makes a public condemnation of another people or country they should risk facing libel and slander charges in the courts.

The right to free speech doesn't mean one can scream "fire" in a crowded theater. Accusations against another country can still be made. But they must be backed up by a reasonable amount of proof. If none is presented then those making the accusations should be sued for libel and slander and risk facing a civil suit.

This is the only way to combat the phenomenon known as "anti-Israelism." Jewish and Israeli groups throughout America need to hire lawyers to initiate legal proceedings against these anti-Israel voices. Publishing an article on the public Internet accusing Israel of charges of "massacres and genocide against the Palestinian people" would be met with an expensive court case.

This is how to confront anti-Israelism.

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Joel Bainerman, The Israel Technology Letter

POB 387, Zichron Yaacov, Israel, 30900

Voice: 972-6-639-6673 Fax: 972-6-639-8880

Email: isratech@netvision.net.il


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